How to Handle Game Days and Stay on Track

How to Handle Game Days and Stay on Track


Can you really stick to your health goals on game days when things like pizza, hot dogs, beer, and chips lurk around every corner?

Sure, you could avoid these food temptations if you skip the fun. 

But not having flexibility is one of the top reasons people fail to reach their health goals. That feeling of missing out is just too strong to keep ignoring. 

That’s why we’re sharing our favorite tips to handle game days and stay on track in this article.

With a little wiggle room and creative thinking, you can look forward to cheering on your team instead of counting calories (or feeling guilty the next day).

How to Enjoy Game Days and Still Reach Your Health Goals

Use these four healthy game day tips to knock your celebrations out of the park without sabotaging your hard work:

1. Always Plan Ahead

One of the best things you can do to stay on track during game days is to plan ahead. 

Decide a few days earlier whether you’re going to tailgate, watch the game at home, head to a friend’s house, or find a local spot with food and drinks. Then come up with your own game plan.

If you’re heading out, try to eat a meal packed with protein and fiber before you leave, so you’re not starving when you arrive.

Without the hangry monster on your back, you’ll be less likely to overeat junk foods wherever you go and make better decisions. 

At the very least, grab a protein bar on your way out if you can’t sneak in a meal before kickoff. The benefits of eating protein bars are worth stashing a few for times like these.

Check the menus beforehand. If a local bar or restaurant is more your speed, find a few options that fit into your healthy eating plan ahead of time. Think about which items you may want to splurge on and which you can tweak to be healthier (i.e., a side of veggies instead of french fries).

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Have a mix of both so you can partake in your game day favorites without going so far overboard that you feel crummy.

Bring your own food and snacks. If you’re tailgating or going to a friend’s house, bring your own filling protein options (more on this next!). You’ll know these items will be good for your goals, so have them before diving into those other not-so-healthy picks.

2. Make Healthier Game Day Snacks

Swapping out traditional game day food and snacks for healthier alternatives may be one of the easiest tips on today’s list.

From deviled eggs and a better-for-you buffalo chicken dip, these six healthy football snacks are so delicious you’ll forget the junkier options even exist.

Whip up some for yourself if you’re laying low at home, or double the recipe to bring a batch to your friend’s watch party. Everyone appreciates a healthy snack on a buffet table between indulgences. 

Psst! Pair your game day snacks with one of these healthy soda alternatives.

3. Sneak in Some Movement Between Plays

Another excellent game day tip is to make sure you’re not sitting the entire game.

We’re not saying you need to bust out a few squats in front of your friends and family (although that’s not a bad idea if you’re watching at home). But getting in some movement is always helpful.

You can stand while you chat with your friends instead of gluing yourself to the couch for hours. You can also go for a quick post-meal walk at half-time.

Break up the sedentary nature of game days by getting up between plays too. Walk around the house during commercials or do a few laps around the yard to get your blood flowing.

Take a few laps wherever you are, and you’ll rack up your daily steps without a sweat.

4. Know That It’s Just One Day

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We don’t recommend giving yourself a free pass to an all-day bingefest on game days. 

Going overboard will make you feel horrible later on and less motivated to get back on track the following day. Then a few days off-track can quickly spiral into a few weeks of poor eating and failed exercise attempts.

That’s why a full cheat day can certainly derail your health goals.

However, indulging in one cheat meal isn’t going to demolish all your healthy eating and gym days for the week.

Realistically, losing weight and staying on track are both about taking the entire week into consideration.

So if you’ve stayed the course six days out of seven, one game day meal or snack in celebration won’t be an issue — especially if you follow the tips in this guide.

You Can Enjoy Game Days and Still Reach Your Health Goals

These four tips prove you can enjoy your favorite game day festivities without turning your back on your health goals.

It all comes down to planning ahead. 

Spend time finding healthy menu choices and preparing better-for-you game day snacks beforehand. Move around between plays. And try to keep a quick protein source on hand to avoid binging on chips.

So go cheer on your team — you got this!


Author: Devan Ciccarelli 

Instagram/Facebook Group: @behappynothangry/Be Happy Not Hangry

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